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The Myth of Obesity

Obesity can have serious and far-reaching effects, but not everyone has accurate knowledge about it. Here are some common misconceptions to help you better understand the issue.

Misconception 1: Only severely obese people are at risk of health problems

People often associate being too thin with being unhealthy, and may even believe that being underweight is more dangerous than being overweight. However, research has found that both being underweight and overweight increase the risk of death, but thin people may die due to serious illnesses such as cancer, which caused their weight to drop significantly but was not the cause of their death. In contrast, overweight people usually have obesity issues, which directly or indirectly lead to various diseases and increase the risk of premature death.

It is worth noting that some people believe that only severely obese people, such as those with obesity, have the above-mentioned risks. In fact, when your BMI exceeds 23, you may already have a higher risk of developing various diseases than the average person; as your body fat increases, the risk of developing these diseases also increases.

Misconception 2: Obesity is not a disease and its impact may not be severe

Obesity meets the standard definition of a disease and has long been defined as such by various international health organizations.

On the other hand, the consequences of obesity are no less severe than unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drinking. For example, it can cause immune and endocrine disorders in fat cells and tissues, leading to sick fat disease; excessive fat can also create an abnormal physical force, pressing on joints, organs, and other tissues, leading to fat mass disease. The impact of these two diseases can be widespread, affecting the nervous system, cardiovascular system, liver and gallbladder, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, muscles and bones, and skin.

Misconception 3: Some people are naturally thin because their metabolism is faster

Metabolism refers to the various chemical reactions that occur in the body, but it may not be related to body shape or weight. In contrast, basal metabolic rate (BMR) is more closely related to weight and body fat.

BMR refers to the number of calories the body consumes when completely at rest, and a higher BMR indicates higher energy consumption. Interestingly, when muscles and fat increase, BMR also increases. Obese people generally have more fat and muscle, so their BMR is actually higher.

So why do some people who do not exercise remain thin and light? This may be because they have a higher non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), such as standing, walking, and climbing stairs. The difference in NEAT between individuals can be significant, ranging from 150 to 500 calories per day.